I have two favorite preparations for noodles in a peanut sauce so, before I chose one for this space, I made them both for dinner recently. My family declared a tie in the side-by-side comparison. They were no help! It almost came down to a coin toss, but ultimately, I chose this recipe because I thought the leftovers tasted slightly better. As you might imagine, with two batches, we had several evenings of leftovers!
To complete the Asian theme, this recipe for Asian Beef is a perfect, prep-ahead accompaniment and can be cooked as skewers or a whole flank steak!
Yields approximately 6 servings, depending on appetite.
- 8 ounces spaghetti (see notes)
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 6 ounces snow peas, cut in half on the diagonal if long (could substitute 4 cups blanched broccoli florets or 3 cups shredded cabbage)
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper (or a mix of both), sliced into strips
- Optional garnishes: 1/4 cup chopped peanuts and/or 1 tablespoon sesame seeds; fresh cilantro, chopped
Cook the pasta until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving some of the starchy pasta water. (If not adding the peanut sauce right away, it is helpful to toss with a teaspoon or two of canola oil.)
For the peanut dressing: Place the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame and canola oil, garlic, ginger, and honey in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Thin with the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thick but pourable. (You may prepare the sauce a day or two in advance, refrigerate, and thin when cooking the pasta. I add 2-3 tablespoons of the water, leaning toward the larger amount when the sauce has been refrigerated overnight.
For the salad: Place the cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl (or simply use the pot you cooked it in), add the vegetables, and toss with the dressing. I typically add about 3/4 of the dressing immediately and drizzle with the remaining amount when ready to serve.
Top with the chopped peanuts and/or toasted sesame seeds and cilantro, if using, and serve cold or at room temperature.
- For a delicious gluten-free option, I recommend corn and quinoa spaghetti. (Rienzi is the brand I often purchase.) It is the closest thing to “real” spaghetti I have found.